This image is both discouraging and misleading. While the dumbbell curl is certainly one of the time-tested ways to increase bicep strength and size, there are only so many gains you can squeeze out of the basic curl. Trying to build bulging biceps with plain old dumbbell curls is like trying to build a skyscraper out of cotton balls.
The key is variance. Muscle confusion. Unpredictability. Call it what you will — the bottom line is that if you aren’t changing up your bicep workout every four weeks, according to Men’s Health, you will not see the results you hope for.
There are hundreds of ways to curl a dumbbell. All the variations, however, modify the move by changing either your grip of the dumbbell, the orientation of your wrists, or the position of your body.
During your next bicep routine, trying throwing in some variance by adding in some the following mods:
- Offset thumb: With your palms facing up, slide your grip all the way to the right (in your right hand, to the left in your left), until your knuckle almost touches the bell. This puts more pressure on your biceps brachii, which gives you more gain.
- Offset pinky: Similar to the previous mod, only reversed — slide your upturned right palm to the left until your pinky almost touches the bell. Slide your left hand to the right for the same move on the other side.
- Flip-grip: Hold the dumbbells with your palms facing down.
- Hammer: You’ve probably heard this one before — turn your wrists 90 degrees so that your thumbs face the ceiling. Like a hammer, get it?
Now, do these new curls in these new positions:
- Sitting: A seated dumbbell curl improves your form because you can’t cheat by swinging your body weight to the get dumbbell up. And better form means more gains.
- Decline: Lay on a bench tilted at 45 degrees with your stomach down, letting your arms hang to the sides. Now pull those reps.
- Incline: Take that same 45 degree bench and lay your back down on it, again letting your arms hang. This position, in combination with the offset thumb grip will put a lot of strain on your brachii, which by the way are the most important muscle group for bicep growth.
With all the combinations of grips and positions listed here, there are over 20 new moves to try the next time you hit the gym. The last thing to remember is that you won’t continue to grow if you stay at a weight that’s comfortable. Your body grows after you push it, so confuse it and continue to push it.
Alvina Lopez is a freelance writer and blog junkie, who blogs about accredited online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.